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Antonin Tucapsky: Sacred Works / Nao Higano, Jan Steyer

Release Date: 07/17/2007 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 58   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín Tucapsky
Performer:  Roman JanalPavla AunickáJan SteyerNao Higano
Conductor:  Vladimír VálekMiroslav Kosler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Radio OrchestraCzecho-Slovak Radio Symphony OrchestraPrague Mixed Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Powerful and moving choral music that shows a celebrated ancestry.

Antonín Tucapsky (b1928) has lived in London for more than 30 years and has frequently been commissioned by British choirs and choral societies. But his choral music sounds distinctively Slavic. He is Moravian, and one really can hear in his music a line stretching back through Janácek to Dvorák, with Szymanowski there as well. But this distinguished ancestry, though audible, is what provides a foundation for Tucapsky’s own voice, rather than smothering it, as these two substantial works demonstrate.

The Stabat mater (1989) is given a full-blooded performance by Czech forces – I am particularly impressed by the radiant
Read more warmth of mezzo Pavla Aunická. Though there is much tenderness in the work, there is also anguish. The third section, “Quis est homo”, with its choral ostinati and the use of xylophone and brass, is particularly effective at conveying the text’s very human dimension of grief, to be succeeded by the mysteriously hovering opening of “Eia mater”. Also highly memorable is the brief but plangent “Fac me plagis”.

At just under 16 minutes, the later cantata Maria Magdalene (1991) is rather shorter but recognisably related. It uses English translations of poems by Pasternak (shame on Somm for leaving the texts of both works to be downloaded from their site), and includes some dramatic writing for solo soprano, here Nao Higano. Though the organ accompaniment is effective, I would very much like to hear the work in its original orchestral version, and it must be said that the choir leaves something to be desired in this performance. Still, a valuable introduction to Tucapsky’s work.

-- Ivan Moody, Gramophone [6/2007]
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Works on This Recording

Stabat mater by Antonín Tucapsky
Performer:  Roman Janal (Baritone), Pavla Aunická (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Vladimír Válek,  Miroslav Kosler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Radio Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Mixed Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; England 
Length: 45 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Mary Magdalene by Antonín Tucapsky
Performer:  Jan Steyer (Organ), Nao Higano (Soprano)
Conductor:  Miroslav Kosler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Mixed Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; England 
Length: 15 Minutes 56 Secs. 

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